We do a lot of jigsaw puzzles, and we’ve spilled some water over puzzles-in-progress. We’ve tried two different ways to salvage soggy pieces, and one method clearly worked better.
Method 1: separate pieces and dry individually
The first spill was a few months back, soaking a dozen or so pieces. We carefully separated the connected pieces, and dried them individually with paper towel.
The pieces dried, but many of them separated into a handful of thin layers (puzzles pieces aren’t solid cardboard, they’re made of layered pieces stacked together). I spent a looong time pressing layers back together with a glue stick. The good news is the glue stick worked, with a lot of patience.
Method 2: keep pieces together and blot top and bottom
Yesterday my elbow caught another glass, soaking a couple dozen pieces in a new puzzle. Desperate not to repeat my glue-sticking, we tried another approach: we kept the connected pieces together, sandwiched the pieces between paper towels, and left it to dry overnight.
It worked! This morning, I had to look closely to notice the water damage. The pieces were a little less pliable than out-of-the-box pieces, but they weren’t in layers, and the puzzle was salvaged.
Result: in our experience, the keep-pieces-together method was by far the better approach.
Maybe separating the wet piece loosened up the cardboard layers, maybe it was different puzzle brands. I can’t say for sure. But if it happens again, that’s what I’ll try. (Or, we could just keep glasses away from puzzles and not have to worry about it 🤔)
How to dry wet jigsaw puzzle pieces
If you’ve had a little spill over your jigsaw, here’s how to dry out wet puzzle pieces:
- Keep the already connected pieces together.
- Slide a piece of construction paper, or something similar, under the wet part of the puzzle and carefully lift the puzzle off the table a few inches.
- Use a towel to dry whatever water you can from the table.
- Slide another paper towel or two between the puzzle and table, and lay the puzzle into the towel.
- Blot the top of the puzzle gently with another paper towel.
- Leave a dry towel on top of the wet pieces.
- Let it dry overnight, and your puzzle should be smiling at you in the morning.
I hope you never need this, but in case you do, I hope it works for you too!
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